China’s E-commerce Giants Rush to Provide COVID-19 Tests as Economic Operation Restarts at Home

(Source: 123RF/LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS)

China’s e-commerce platforms, including Alibaba, JD.com, and Pinduoduo, recently started reservations for COVID-19 testing in multiple cities and to scale up this service nationwide in coming weeks.

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AliHealth, backed by Alibaba Group, allowed consumers to make a reservation for the COVID-19 test online in 38 cities like Beijing, Hangzhou and Chengdu on April 22. Taobao users can simply search for “COVID-19 Test” to find this service and they will get the test report within 24 hours after they receive the test offline.

JD.com, Alibaba’s main competitor, also launched a test-booking service in collaboration with a Beijing-based medical laboratory. JD.com said it offered a discounted price of 188 yuan for 100 consumers who reserve early in every city while the test normally costs 259.9 yuan on JD.com.

Another platform, Pinduoduo, an emerging player in China’s e-commerce race, announced that it will provide the testing service in more than 50 cities with Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) and other companies.

Known for its cheap price, Pinduoduo vied for consumers with Alibaba and JD.com. This time, it granted a gigantic subsidy of more than tens of billions of yuan, making the test fee as low as 179 yuan in 10 cities.

“Pinduoduo pays 10 yuan for each tester to help ease their economic pressure,” said Zong Hui, Pinduoduo’s project manager. “Although the pandemic feels no emotions, we humans do.”